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Yellow Jack (1938)

Passed | | Drama, History, Mystery | 27 May 1938 (USA)
In the fever-stricken areas of Cuba a brave band of scientists, doctors and U. S. Marines fight a losing battle against the deadly plague of 'Yellow Jack,' until the great heroic risk taken by an Irish sergeant brings victory.


George B. Seitz


Edward Chodorov (screen play), Sidney Howard (from the play by) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Robert Montgomery ... John O'Hara
Virginia Bruce ... Frances Blake
Lewis Stone ... Maj. Reed
Andy Devine ... Charlie Spill
Henry Hull ... Dr. Jesse Lazear
Charles Coburn ... Dr. Finlay
Buddy Ebsen ... 'Jellybeans'
Henry O'Neill ... Gorgas
Janet Beecher ... Miss Macdade
William Henry ... Breen
Alan Curtis ... Brinkerhof
Sam Levene ... Busch
Stanley Ridges ... Dr. James Carroll
Phillip Terry ... Ferguson
Jonathan Hale ... Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood
Learn more

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In 1898 Cuba, U.S. troops who have survived the Spanish-American War are now dying by the hundreds from disease -- yellow fever, known as "yellow jack." Major Walter Reed, an Army physician, struggles to find the cause of the infection and to overcome governmental interference. When an answer seems at last possible, Reed decides that the only way to test the theory is to expose his own men to the disease. He cannot order men to undergo the test. Yet finding volunteers seems impossible. Without them, though, yellow jack will perhaps kill millions. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHE OFFERED LOVE FOR AN EXPIERMENT! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - May 27, 1938 - all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film received its initial television showing in Philadelphia Saturday 6 April 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), followed by Chicago 20 April 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), by Altoona PA 22 April 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), by Binghamton NY 4 May 1957 on WNBF (Channel 12), by Seattle 5 June 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Syracuse 15 June 1957 on WHEN (Channel 8), by Portland OR 18 June on KGW (Channel 8), by Tucson 15 July 1957 on KVOA (Channel 4), by New York City 3 September 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), by Honolulu 8 September 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), by Tampa 10 September 1957 on WFLA (Channel 8) and by Memphis 26 October 1957 on WHBQ (Channel 13); in San Francisco it first aired 3 June 1958 on KGO (Channel 7) and in Los Angeles 2 July 1958 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »


While Breen and the other men are digging and talking about mosquitoes, his hair changes from being combed and uncombed between shots. See more »

Crazy Credits

Yellow Jack celebrates what these men did, rather than what they were. That their heroism however, should not go unrecorded, their true names are here given. (Followed by the names of the 5 volunteers for the yellow fever experiment.) See more »


Version of Celanese Theatre: Yellow Jack (1952) See more »


You're In The Army Now
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen
Played by a bugler for a marching band
Played also as background music
See more »

User Reviews

In Search of Clues to a Deadly Disease
21 January 2019 | by Uriah43See all my reviews

This film begins in Cuba at the end of the Spanish-American War with the victorious American army now facing an even more deadly foe-yellow fever. And the concern is even more heightened due to the fact that nobody knows what causes it or how it is spread. So fearful that the returning soldiers may bring this deadly disease back to the United States the army sends a team of highly respected doctors led by a man named "Major Walter Reed" (Lewis Stone) to look for answers. Unfortunately, after a full year in Cuba he is forced to admit to the commander of the area that he is no closer to finding the cause or the cure than he was the day he arrived. Then one day he is apprised of some research conducted by a local doctor named "Carlos Finlay" (Charles Coburn) who had proposed a cause for the disease almost 19 years previously but was derided for it. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a decent drama which contained elements of suspense and romance within the plot as well. And even though it was clearly dated, I still found it to be somewhat enjoyable and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

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Release Date:

27 May 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cinco Heróis See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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